The European Union has shortlisted three Egyptian teams who presented three projects during the final ceremony of the “National Youth Competition for the Development of a Water Conservation Public Awareness Campaign” on April 27.

The Holding Company for Water and Wastewater organizes the final ceremony of the National Youth Competition for the Development Of a Water Conservation Public Awareness Campaign.

The three shortlisted teams of students presented their ideas, explaining how their campaigns target different tiers of the Egyptian public to raise awareness and incite behaviors that support efficient use of drinking water.

“We live in a fast-changing world. Water is impacted adversely by these changes.  This is particularly the case when it comes to Egypt with its rapid population growth that added further pressure to the limited water resources needed to meet the demands of all Egyptians,” says Ambassador Ivan Surkos, Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Egypt.

“The EU has a long and lasting commitment to work with Egypt in this vital sector. Water is a top priority for the EU and Egypt and engaging the youth to raise awareness makes a real difference. We are proud to support the first national media competition for water conservation in Egypt. This is just the first step on the road to effective awareness and water conservation,” he adds.

The holding company had launched the competition in November 2016 under the auspices of the Prime Minister and through a cooperation between the ministries of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities and Higher Education with the purpose of inspiring youth to design tailored public awareness messages to address negative behavior on water usage, and promote water conservation. The National Competition attracted applications from fifteen student teams who submitted their campaign ideas, out of which eleven teams were short-listed by an evaluation committee.

A panel of representatives of five of the leading advertising agencies then voted on the three campaigns ranking them from one to three, and the result of the best ranking campaign was announced on spot by  Mamdouh Raslan, Chairman of HCWW, who also presented the awards to the teams. Other unique ideas for designs of print ads, outdoors, logos, slogans, cartoons and social media and activation ideas provided by other participating teams were also recognized during the ceremony.

Eng. Raslan says: “the water and wastewater sector faces many complicated challenges that require the intervention and support of all segments of the Egyptian society.”  He adds: “as the future generation, youth represent the hope to find creative solutions to such critical problems. Now that the national competition has come to an end, we hope that the ideas of these young people would be effective and can really contribute to changing public behavior towards usage of drinking water.”

He continues: “it is very important to highlight the critical role that our development partners played in supporting this competition and ensuring its success; these include the EU Delegation to Egypt, German International Cooperation (GIZ-WWMP), UNICEF and EBRD.”

Their participation in an intensive orientation week held by HCWW, has provided the eleven shortlisted teams of students with the opportunity to learn in depth about the water sector in Egypt and its challenges, and to accordingly develop public messages that encourage water conservation.

“Access to water and sanitation is a right for every child to survive and thrive to reach their full potential. Building public awareness on water conservation and preservation, is crucial to maintain access to safe water in face of its growing scarcity,” said Bruno Maes, UNICEF Representative in Egypt, “We believe in the power of youth to change negative behavior in their communities, and ultimately in future generations.”

The event was inaugurated by Eng. Mamdouh Raslan, Chairman of HCWW, EU ambassador to Egypt HE Ambassador Ivan Surkos, Mr. Sebastian Lesch, Head of German Development Cooperation – German Embassy, Mr. Bruno Maes, UNICEF Representative in Egypt and Ms. Janet Heckman, Managing Director, SEMED European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).  It was attended by other top management of the company, and deans and students of mass communication colleges of the universities participating in the competition, as well as some of the leading advertising agencies in Egypt and a selection of media professionals.

Through the ceremony, a documentary that summarized the different stages of the competition was showed.  Speeches of representatives of the different development partners sponsoring the competition then followed including Mr. Bruno Maes, UNICEF Representative in Egypt, Ms. Janet Heckman, Managing Director, SEMED (EBRD), Mr. Sebastian Lesch, Head of German Development Cooperation– German Embassy and Ambassador Ivan Surkos – Head of the EU delegation to Egypt.